Local or local travel agency?

There is a topic I have been thinking and wanting to write about for a while now. A common thing in todays travel industry is to go to your local travel agency, pick a destination and book your trip with them. No, this is not another thought on why a personalized travel adventure is the way to go… I’ll try show you something in another way than you probably ever thought of it.

80 percent of spending by travellers and vacationers on package tours go to international businesses. This means that when you go to your local travel agency and buy a package tour, most of your money goes to airlines, hotels and other services. The money doesn’t go to local businesses and workers. Now, this may sound as a sustainable tourism topic, but I’m not writing this for travel writers or to tell you who should get your money. I’m not interested in that, either. My point is that you can get a package tour in most of the cases by the local travel agency in the place you are going to. That is only an indicator that it doesn’t matter much where you book your tour. Online services, guides, companies… The only thing you have to count in is what kind of vacation you want.

If you put yourself in a position to think that way, you can find all kinds of benefits; better service, lower prices, different dates, maybe get suggestions that your local agency wouldn’t give you…because they didn’t know or couldn’t arrange something like it. And just to make something clear…everything can be arranged, just not in the same price range. That is why a different point of view for time to time is a good way to find out what you didn’t know before.

To put all of this into perspective, let me give you an example…if I were to go on a cruise in Finland, I would probably want to contact a Finnish company that organizes cruises on their ships and book with them. No big deal, you can do it all online. Then I would book a return flight. And that’s it. You’ve cut your costs twice: you didn’t have to pay for travel agency’ service and you could choose a low cost airlines if you wanted to, book in advance to get the lower price on your ticket, use your flyer credits… you’ve also benefited by choosing the ship and the company you want to go with. There is never one option.

There are many reasons why do one over the other. The point was to give you an idea, a direction in which you will be able to think while planning your trips and decide which option is, in that case, a better one.

Stella – European Travelling Advisor

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10 Responses to “Local or local travel agency?”

  1. February 12, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Stella
    What a great idea! You are right I have ever thought about doing it this way. That is great :-) Knowning people such as your self would make so much easier to go direct, may be you can even help with speical interest and need for the traveler.

    Thank you for this.
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

  2. 2 Stella Stopfer
    February 13, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Giovanna,

    I’m always open for questions and making suggestions. There is always so much to say and so many guidelines to give but since I know so much, I usually oversee most of it.

    Thank you, I’m glad I could spark an idea!

    Stella – European Travelling Advisor

  3. February 13, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    is that you in the banner/logo

  4. February 14, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Thank you for your interesting article.
    Now your blog is placed in my bookmarks.
    Good luck! ..

  5. 5 Hilary
    February 14, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Hi Stella … now I know you I’d trust you – but others I’m not sure about .. it’s building that trust.

    But I can definitely see a niche here .. to be developed .. eg a respected group of individuals in different parts of the world who are experts and who can help travellers with down to earth advice.

    Yes – I’d use you when I travel around Europe .. when that time comes!!

    So an interesting take on agencies

    Thank you – Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

  6. 6 Stella Stopfer
    February 14, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Hey thenoz, yes, that’s me! :D

    Stella – European Travelling Advisor

  7. 7 Stella Stopfer
    February 14, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Hi hotexotic,

    you’re welcome; and thank you for your comment.
    Good luck to you, too!

    Stella – European Travelling Advisor

  8. 8 Stella Stopfer
    February 14, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Hilary,

    I totally understand…you have to provide value first to be trusted, that’s what it’s all about. And people can see from the start if you are passionate about what you do…that always tells a lot.
    Thank you Hilary for your trust, I appreciate it very much!

    Stella – European Travelling Advisor

  9. February 21, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Hi Stella – do people still use travel agents?! Now, I’m not talking bespoke travel here, as I see that as something entirely different. A provocative question I know. But I’m wondering what kind of people use them. I haven’t used one in a decade. And I don’t think I know anyone, i.e. personal friends, who use them anymore. They book online and use guidebooks. Now, if people *must* use a travel agent, then I’m all for them using locally based people. Great post!

  10. 10 Stella Stopfer
    February 24, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Lara,

    I don’t think it’s a provocative question but I think it’s a great question. As far as I know there are a lot of people who use travel agencies; the ones who aren’t too internet savvy, people who don’t have the time or don’t want to arrange it for themselves, I have even heard that they don’t want to be bothered by the little things like not having the arranged transportation etc.
    To my surprise, I found out that many travellers don’t really know how to make an itinerary for themselves or that they can contact local travel agencies. That’s why I started asking questions; it’s very good to have that information.
    In my opinion, I’m not all against travel agencies because some people really don’t want to be bothered with the organization part and that’s fine. But, one of the most important argument throughout my blog is that’s it’s done the wrong way. Travel agencies should be more focused around individual interests, not trying to satisfy everyone all at once.

    Thanks Lara!

    Stella – European Travelling Advisor

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